TBC Retail stands atop Tire Business' ranking of independent tire dealerships for the second year running, edging out No. 2 Discount Tire/America's Tire, which added 25 stores in the past year to hit the 865 mark.
TBC Retail's store count of 931 stores is down from last year, reflecting the divestment of more than 30 Midas locations to franchisees. TBC still controls more than 65 Big O Tires and 40 Midas locations in various markets, but the company is seeking to franchise or re-franchise those locations.
TBC's Tire Kingdom, NTB and Merchant's Tire store total stayed relatively stable in the past year.
Discount Tire, on the other hand, opened 25 stores during the October-to-October period, including its first stores in Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based retailer now operates stores in 27 states.
Monro Muffler Brake Inc. was the most active dealership in the past year, adding 99 stores in five separate acquisitions and a few stand-alone openings, to now exceed the 400 mark in stores.
Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack—No. 5 on this year's list with 211 Service & Tire Center locations—added 36 stores in the past year, including 17 in the greater Los Angeles metro area it acquired this summer from AKH Co. Inc./Discount Tire Centers.
The Philadelphia-based chain also is opening about four to five stores a quarter and plans to remodel many of its tire-centric locales to the firm's "neighborhoods" modular-store layout, which debuted in Tampa., Fla., in the first quarter.
The retailer budgeted $65 million this year to open 31 Service & Tire Centers and seven supercenters. It also has added Speed Shops—a store within a store designed to attract auto enthusiasts seeking performance products and accessories—at 99 of its 750 Pep Boys stores nationwide and will continue to expand this concept in fiscal 2014.
New to the top echelon this year is Tirecraft Group, the Canadian marketing group owned collectively by six wholesale and retail/commercial dealers across the country, which slots in at No. 11 with 120 stores.
The owners are Miller Tirecraft of Nova Scotia; Pneus Robert Bernard of Quebec; Barnim Holdings of Ontario; Kirk's Tire Ltd. and Trail Tires Group of Alberta; and Quality Tire Service of Saskatchewan. They collectively own and operate 120 retail locations flying the Tirecraft flag, and the group has 410 associate dealers as well, stretching nearly coast to coast.
Other dealerships showing above-average growth in the past year include:
- Somerset Tire Service Inc., which opened 17 stores, including several of the Strauss Discount Auto locations it acquired in September 2012 and then remodeled before reopening.
- Certified Tire & Auto Centers, which added 11 stores, including 10 former Scher Tire locations it acquired following the demise of Scher Tire in the wake of the death of founder and owner Bruce Scher in December 2012.
- Sullivan Tire Co., which opened eight retail locations, including four stores it acquired in separate transactions and remodeled to Sullivan Tire specs.
- Tire Discounters Inc., which opened six stores, including its first three "store of the future" open-layout locations.
- Plaza Tire Service, which opened six stores, including five sites in central Missouri formerly operated by Ewers Tire. The 100 largest dealerships operate nearly 5,900 outlets, up 200 from a year ago, with 36 dealerships adding stores during the past year. See Tire Business' benchmarking analysis of the survey data on page 11.New to the rankings this year are:
- McCarthy Tire & Automotive Centers, the Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based predominantly commercial dealership, which also does retail tires and auto service at 22 of its locations (tied for 47th);
- Gorrepati Enterprises Inc., a Cincinnati-based Car-X Auto Service franchisee with 20 locations in the Cincinnati metro area (tied for 52nd);
- BREX Inc., a St. Louis-based Car-X franchisee with 19 locations (55th);
- NONA Inc., a Champaign, Ill.-based Car-X franchisee with a dozen locations in Illinois (tied for 73rd);
- St. Lucie Battery & Tire of Fort Pierce, Fla. The dealership grew to 12 stores with the opening of three locations in the past year (tied for 73rd);
- Rims USA L.L.C., a Green-ville, S.C.-based RNR Custom Wheels & Tires franchisee with 11 stores in the Carolinas and Georgia (tied for 88th); and
- Clark Tire Co. Inc., a Sedalia, Mo.-based MAST dealer with 11 Clark Tire and Warehouse Tire & Muffler stores in central Missouri.
Disappearing from the rankings this time around are four of the five dealerships acquired by Monro in the past year—Ken Towery's Tire & Auto Service of Louisville, Ky.; Enger Auto Service & Tires of Mentor, Ohio; Tire Barn Warehouse of Anderson, Ind.; and Curry's Auto Service Inc.—along with Scher Tire.
The death of California tire dealer Mr. Scher on Dec. 4 led first to the cessation of his dealership businesses in California and Las Vegas, and subsequently to the growth of Certified Tire & Auto and A.T.V./American Tire Depot's store counts in California and to the re-emergence of the Superior Tire stores in Las Vegas under new ownership.
To reach this reporter: [email protected] crain.com; 330-865-6145.